Today I am starting a new leg of a travel and teaching journey. This time, I will be without Robert—my husband, partner in crime and this blog’s master.
“Why am I moving to Cairo by myself?”
Long story short, we both received job offers we couldn’t refuse. Unfortunately, they were on different continents. I received mine first and we were all set to jet off when Robert’s opportunity came along. We did some agonizing and back and forth and landed on this decision.
I will be teaching high school English at an international school in Cairo, Egypt. Robert will be a technology manager for a company in Oregon. We are both really excited to pursue our new ventures and have a chance to “try out” two entirely different lifestyles. We’ll evaluate as we go and decide what works best in the long run… or try something else!
I am cautious, but not scared to move to the most populous Arab country as a white, Western woman. When we told others we were moving to Japan, we received a variety of warnings about the Yakuza (mob), sexual harassment on the train, train/traffic accidents, you name it, from people who had never been to Japan, but only seen things on the news or the internet. Thankfully, we were not scared off and our experience living in Japan was amazing! Japan was the safest I have ever felt anywhere. I knew that I was spoiled and that whenever we left to travel or return to the U.S., I would have to get my guard back up.
Similarly, many people have warned me about Cairo. And yes, there is probably more reason to worry than with Japan. I will have to be more aware of where I’m going and who is around me. I will have to think about my appearance and being modest (not a new concept for me—many Asian countries like Japan are quite modest in dress especially in religious sites and I had quite a learning experience about dress in India). From where I stand, these things are not deal breakers. I’m not scared of the Islamic religion or Muslim people. I have read all of the travel alerts and I have done my research. I have asked advice from my new co-workers and people who have visited or lived in Egypt. Instead of giving into fear, I decided to go and form my own opinion.
I realize that I have the privilege to make the decision to live anywhere I want. And I have the privilege as an American citizen to leave whenever I want. Those statements aren’t true for most of the rest of the world.
I forgot this was supposed to be a long story short! Stay tuned on the blog as I try to make sense of a whole new world (a favorite karaoke song), more information about my school and its students, my local wanderings and travels, photos of pyramids and felucca rides down the Nile, food and coffee reviews (!!!) and Robert’s visits and impressions.
Have you ever been to Egypt? Do you think I should be worried? Why or why not? Head to the comments section below to take part in the conversation!